Such Deeply Stupid Questions
November 11, 2019 ·


At the New York Times, Eugene Linden looks at how scientists’ predictions about the severity of climate change has become more dire over time: Had a scientist in the early 1990s suggested that within 25 years a single heat wave would measurably raise sea levels, at an estimated two one-hundredths of an inch, bake the …

On Waiting for Houdini’s Ghost
November 7, 2019


Writing this poem constituted my annual “Houdini Séance” for 2019. (Houdini died on October 31, 1926.) It is written in my own style, which I call Improvisational Rhyming. I wait, not for Houdini to haunt, but      for the rest      of us to meet      in pretense      at some séance table.      In life      he slipped off      handcuffs, …

Harry Potter and the Precarious Economy
November 7, 2019


Sam Cowie at The Guardian reports on the rise of Flat-Eartherism in Brazil, where 11 million people now claim to reject the fact that they live on a sphere: Critics attribute Brazil’s most recent flat Earth craze to poor public education, copycatting from abroad and to the increase in social media use. “The internet gives …

Crackpots, Serial Killers and Flat Earthers
November 6, 2019


Things are a bit different now. Any crackpot with a 6th grader’s knowledge of computers can design and launch a website, shoot, edit and post a You Tube video that is wrong in every sense of the word, and search the world for people who share their same fetishes, dopey ideas, or sick fantasies.

Stone-Cold, Motherless Last
November 6, 2019


11,258 scientists sign on to a study titled “World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency”: “Despite 40 years of global climate negotiations, with few exceptions, we have generally conducted business as usual and have largely failed to address this predicament,” the study states. The paper bases its conclusions on a set of easy-to-understand indicators that …

Bright Blue Faces
November 5, 2019


Aaaaand we’re out. Of the Paris climate agreement. Which we knew was going to happen. And now it is. (I did a Point of Inquiry about it at the time with The New Yorker‘s Elizabeth Kolbert.) Google employees, meanwhile, insist that their company must do much more about climate change. Via The Verge: Google workers …

Zealots, Kooks, Extremists, Impostors, and Spies
November 4, 2019


Undercover reporters from UK’s The Telegraph get video of homeopaths telling patients not to get their kids vaccinated, claiming that the vaccines will cause learning difficulties, autism, mood changes, and loss of speech. It’s jaw-dropping. Facebook says it doesn’t tolerate the bullying and abuse of those expressing support for vaccinations. CNN begs to differ: Our …

Infect Your Mind
November 1, 2019


The city councilors of Toronto pass a resolution denouncing Quebec’s “secularism bill,” calling it “a strategic attempt to stifle and limit the civic participation of individuals who choose to wear religious symbols under the guise of secularism.” In the Lexington Herald-Leader, Lincoln Christensen (whose bio is an adjective buffet: “a life-long Unitarian Universalist, political independent, …

Halloween Scary Phantoms and Phantom Scares
October 31, 2019


Today is Halloween, and amid the make-believe witches, ghouls, and goblins, there are supposedly real-life villains who hope to harm children every October 31. News reports and scary stories on social media leave many parents concerned about protecting children from Halloween threats. But are they real or myth? Here are five scary myths and legends …

Tales of Depravity and Horror
October 30, 2019


On the latest episode of our podcast Point of Inquiry, Kavin Senapathy goes to the European Skeptics Congress in Ghent, Belgium and talks to Claire Klingenberg, president of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations (ECSO). Action alert time! Congress is considering a bill to reauthorize DC’s school voucher program, which not even the DC council …